Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Today I came accross an interesting material regarding postmodern preaching while I was browsing through the ifesworld webpage. I find it pretty situmilating, although am I aware usually people's thinking is not so clear-cut postmodern vs modern in its nature. Anyway, here it is, see for yourself whether you can use it or not.
Post-modern type questions.
1. In the recent past we argued about evolution versus faith. In the emerging culture, we may say, “Let’s assume evolution is true, or partially true. Is it possible that evolution itself could be a creation of God, a process which God would create in order to create new life forms?
2. In the recent past we generally began our apologetic by arguing for the Bible’s authority, then used the Bible to prove our other points. In the future we’ll present the Bible less like evidence in a court case and more like works of art in an art gallery. The Bible will become valuable not for what it proves, but for what it reveals.
3. In the recent past we attempted to explain how evil and suffering can exist in a world created by a good and all-powerful God. In the future we’ll return the question to the questioner, maybe something like this: “If you don’t believe in God, then how do you explain evil and suffering – and what meaning or hope can you find in all the injustice? Or “You’re right: evil is intolerable. It shouldn’t exist. There’s no good reason for it, nor can there be. Which is exactly why Christians dedicate ourselves to overcoming it with good”.
4. In the recent past we talked a lot about absolute truth, attempting to prove abstract propositions about God. In the emerging culture, however, we will be much more interested in embodied truth (for instance, how Jesus demonstrated God’s mercy), and we will want to convey real-life stories about God – stories from our lives as well as from the Bible.
5. In the recent past we assumed people would come to faith in a linear way, moving along a predictable path, as isolated individuals. In the future we’ll expect people to spiral in on faith, to approach it from many angles at once, and discover it in community rather than individually. We may well see the process of coming to faith as a wonderful integration of intellect and emotion, experience and reflection, privacy and community, mystery and clarity.
To be a good apologist today you need to offer both standard and innovative responses to common questions.
Word deed and example: it’s important to keep these three integrated.
I’ve wondered how my spiritually seeking friends would advise me about my apologetics – what those who are not yet Christians would say would be more helpful to them. I think they’d say something like this:
1. Build a relationship. People are seldom looking for an answer; they are looking for a mentor. You ask questions and you listen to their answers. You share your own experiences and demonstrate genuine love and concern. You may find this question helpful: Why is that question important to you?
2. Don’t offer a cheap or easy answer for a deep, complex question.
3. Feel free to say you don’t know.
4. Rely on the power of your stories. Tell your stories, tell biblical stories… shared experiences are really important.
5. Keep the conversation going.
6. Encourage your friend to exercise whatever faith they have. For example, I often say something like this to people: “If you were about to enter a dark room, and wanted to find out if anyone was there, you’d call out, ‘Hey, is anybody there?’ I think you can do the same with God.
7. If some questions are beyond you, then introduce your friend to others who can understand, relate, and help.
8. Don’t assume there’s only one right way to answer a question.
9. Be sensitive to God’s spirit at work in the situation.
10. Don’t pressure or rush anyone to believe.
11. Always be respectful and gentle with spiritual questioners.
Over the past few decades, evangelicals have increasingly talked about a holistic gospel that incorporates in its salvation story a Jesus who came into the world to minister to all needs of a hurting humanity – physical and social needs as well as spiritual needs” (103)
The Dilemma of State Church Structures in Europe
“… The reformation and pietism have reduced the gospel to a matter of salvation for the individual”.
“The benefits of salvation are separated from the reason for which we received God’s grace in Christ: to empower us as God’s people to become Christ’s witnesses. This fundamental dichotomy between the benefits of the gospel and the mission of the gospel constitutes the most profound reductionism of the gospel”.
“A missional church is where the people of God – in following Christ – participate in God’s mission through being, word and deed in their daily lives.”
“… The symbols of the missional Church are the way, discipleship, wholeness and everyday life.”
“…The custodians of the missional Church – lay people who dynamically live out their faith in everyday situations”.
“ A missional Church should emphasize meditation, spirituality, presence, genuineness and lifestyle…. We should become personal carriers of the spiritual reality the world longs for.”